Justice Department blocks Posada Carriles release

The US Justice Deparment April 12 obtained an emergency order from Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans barring the imminent release of Cuban right-wing militant Luis Posada Carriles. The move came after Posada’s family in Miami posted the balance of a $350,000 bond with the federal court in El Paso, where he faces trial on immigration fraud charges.

US District Judge Kathleen Cardone had rejected Justice Department efforts to reconsider her bond for Posada. She said in her order last week that Posada, “frail” and 79, was not a danger or a flight risk. Countered Justice Department attorney John F. DePue: “Posada Carriles’ history demonstrates that there is a very real risk that he will flee if released.” Posada’s Miami attorney, Arturo Hernandez, responded in turn: “We are going to avail ourselves of every legal remedy to enforce his rights under the court’s order.”

Fidel Castro accused the American government of planning to free a “monster,” according to a letter bearing the signature of the ailing leader. Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez criticized the Bush administration for protecting Posada, “the father of this continent’s terrorists.”

Meanwhile, military intelligence agents raided the home of one of Posada’s lawyers, Joaquin Chaffardet. The lawyer’s wife, Maria Teresa Rosas, told reporters the agents said they were searching for weapons, and accused them of planting C-4 explosives and potentially compromising documents.

The Venezuelan government has called Chaffardet an “accomplice” of Posada, saying it was grossly improper that his testimony at a hearing in Texas helped convince a US judge he could be tortured if returned to Venezuela. Chaffardet and Posada worked together in Venezuela’s secret police in the 1970s. (Miami Herald, April 13)

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